Bodies of the eight Ugandan soldiers killed in the Sunday al-Shabaab attacks on Uganda People’s Defence Force’s (UPDF) camps in Somalia were this afternoon returned home amidst cries of sadness.
Metallic boxes bearing the remains of the fallen soldiers were transferred from a plane to waiting UPDF ambulances that took them to Bombo Military Hospital for embalmment.
It is not yet clear when the bodies will be handed over to relatives for burial.
Names of the fallen soldiers were not readily available.
The army said the battle that left these soldiers lifeless, ensued after the suspected al-Shabab terrorists attempted to attack AMISOM Forward Operating Bases at Quoroyole, Buulo Mareer and Golwen in Lower Shabelle Region of Somalia.
President Museveni on Tuesday said that 36 al-Shabaab militants had been killed, while the Islamists claimed in a statement to have killed 59 Ugandan soldiers.
In a Tweet, Gen Museveni praised the UPDF soldiers for the spirited fight against the militants, whom he said had six vehicles that were loaded with explosives.
“It is gratifying, however, that the bold but adventurous strategy of al-Shabaab failed. With constant vigilance, victory is assured. I congratulate our soldiers for the good work they did,” he said.
He said 36 al-Shabaab attackers were killed in the fight.
Local media quoting sources said a massive blast was heard in the Bulomarer district, around 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of Mogadishu, and fighting broke out after dozens of heavily armed al-Shabaab militants stormed the base.
The Al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab was pushed out of the Somali capital in 2011 -- and subsequently other towns and cities -- by soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
But the Islamists still hold sway in large parts of the countryside and launch regular gun and bomb attacks on government, military and civilian targets in Mogadishu and ambushes on military convoys and outposts.
East African leaders contributing to the 22,000-strong AMISOM force last month called for the United Nations to reconsider plans to withdraw troops by December 2020, saying the timeline was unrealistic and could lead to a reversal of gains.